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Formerly imprisoned Cuban medical doctor's parole conditions lifted
November 14, 2019 
Cuba map cropOn September 30, 2019, Cuban physician Eduardo Cardet Concepción’s parole conditions—placed on him following his release from prison—were lifted. He had been freed on probation in early May 2019, after serving two years and five months of his three-year prison sentence. The terms of his probation included a mandatory monthly court appearance and an order to stay within the municipality of Velazco, where he resides, unless he received court permission to travel elsewhere in the country.
In addition to his work as a medical doctor, Dr. Cardet has led the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, MCL), a prominent, pro-democracy association whose members have long been targeted for harassment by the Cuban government. In November 2016, while returning home from visiting his mother, he reportedly was violently detained by several police officers, acting without a warrant. One of the officers later alleged that Dr. Cardet pushed him during the arrest. Although several witnesses said that the allegation was inaccurate—and that Dr. Cardet was quickly and violently restrained by the officers, beaten, and handcuffed—he was subsequently charged with attacking an official of the state. While in detention, he was repeatedly subjected to ill-treatment. In March 2017, he was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. His verdict and sentence were upheld on appeal two months later, despite the lack of evidence to support his criminal conviction.
Shortly before his arrest, Dr. Cardet had spoken critically about former President Fidel Castro in interviews with international media. Several months earlier, media outlets reported that the MCL had presented a proposal—with 10,000 signatures—to Cuba’s parliament, advocating for constitutional reform, as well as guarantees of the rights to free speech, association, and religion. A second MCL proposal, calling for electoral reforms, followed. (Article 88 of Cuba’s Constitution allows for the proposal of laws, if the initiative is supported by at least 10,000 citizens eligible to vote.) In late 2018, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that Dr. Cardet’s arrest stemmed from his political and social activities related to promoting the right to vote and democratic participation. The U.N. body also found Dr. Cardet’s detention to be in violation of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and a fair trial and called for his immediate release.